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Life throws us curveballs, stress creeps in, or sometimes, for no reason at all - we're just not feeling ourselves.

As a single mom, I can feel down a lot of the time, but then when I really think about it I do have a choice (and I have a son to raise and be a good mother to). It's either I can drown myself in that feeling of spiraling downward or I can make myself feel better so I can move forward and move past whatever it is that's putting me in this place.

I'll always choose the latter because in my situation, making myself feel better is the only way for me not only to survive what life throws at me but thrive.

In actual fact, you don't have to be a single mom to have bouts of feeling down, it can happen to anyone at any age. As a mom, the way I choose to feel better regardless of the situation and how I manage these feelings, allows me to be a good example to my son, and that's a big deal.

What makes you feel better can vary from one person to another. For some, just getting yourself out of bed can feel like a major accomplishment and make you feel better instantly. For others, it might take a lot more.

To make yourself feel better, it doesn't have to cost a thing and on that note, let's look at a list of 13 free and small things that you can do to get you back on the road to feeling better.

feel better

What Happens When You're Feeling Down

First things first, let's acknowledge what happens when you are feeling down.

It's not just a mental state, but it can manifest physically too. Your energy levels might dip, your motivation takes a nosedive, and even the simplest tasks can feel like climbing Mount Everest.

Emotionally, it's like being stuck in a foggy haze where everything seems a bit heavier and harder to handle. The slightest misspoken word can trigger your tear ducts and you end up crying. When you look back on it later, you realize your cries were over the smallest thing.

But here's the thing - feeling down is completely normal. It's part and parcel of the human experience. The key is not to stay in that place. It's about finding ways to gently nudge yourself back into the light, one step at a time.

12 Tips That Make You Feel Better When You're Feeling Down

01. Move Your Body 

When you're feeling down, the mere thought of any form of movement might make you want to crawl back under the covers. However, physical activity has been proven as a powerful antidote to low mood and can make you feel better.

Whether it's a stroll around the block, a cardio session, or a yoga flow, moving your body releases endorphins that can make you feel better and boost your mood.

Any form of exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, leaving you more relaxed and at ease. So even if you don't feel like it, try and drag yourself to lace your sneakers, put on your favorite playlist, and move!

02. Reach Out to a Friend 

When you're feeling down, it's easy to retreat into isolation and try to deal with your emotions alone. However, reaching out to a friend or loved one can provide the comfort and support you may need.

Whether you need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or simply someone to sit with you in silence, don't hesitate to lean on your support system. You'll be amazed at how much lighter you feel after sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone who cares about you.

03. Practice Gratitude 

When life feels overwhelming and you're consumed by negativity, practicing gratitude can be a game-changer. Take a moment to reflect on the things in your life that bring you joy, comfort, and fulfillment.

Putting some time aside to reflect on all the things that I'm grateful for has saved me on many occasions in so many different ways. I never thought it could help uplift my spirits the way it has, but it does.

It could be the simplest of things such as the warmth of sunshine on your face, the sound of laughter of a loved one, the bed you're sleeping on, that shower you take, or the taste of your favorite meal. By shifting your focus away from what's lacking and towards what you're grateful for, you can cultivate a sense of abundance and contentment.

Practicing gratitude will surprise you. It has the power to make you feel better in ways you didn't think would be possible.

04. Engage in a Hobby

When you want to feel better, engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment can provide a much-needed escape from your worries.

Whether it's painting, knitting, reading, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, occupying yourself with a hobby allows you to tap into your creativity and focus on something positive. Plus, accomplishing small tasks and seeing tangible results can boost your confidence and self-esteem, helping you feel more capable and empowered.

05. Practice Self-Compassion

So much of our focus is on treating others with kindness and compassion. But try treating yourself the same, and see how that makes you feel, rather than dousing yourself with self-criticism and judgment.

Acknowledge that it's okay to not be okay sometimes, and give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions you are feeling without judgment. Offer yourself words of encouragement and support, the same way you would do to a dear friend in need.

Remember, you are worthy of love and kindness, especially from yourself.

06. Get Some Sunlight

It's a known fact that exposure to natural sunlight is essential for both physical and mental well-being.

Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

When you're feeling down and you want to get out of it and feel better, spending time in the sun can help boost your mood and energy levels. So, take a break from your indoor routine, step outside, and soak up some sunshine. Even just a few minutes of sunlight can make a noticeable difference in how you feel.

07. Listen to Music

Music has a powerful influence on our emotions and can be a powerful tool for lifting our spirits and making you feel better. I know this works for me like magic.

Music can go both ways. Listen to something sad and you might just spiral deeper into your sadness amplifying those emotions that you're already feeling. But if you just change that and listen to some uplifting music, it could possibly turn your mood around making you feel better in an instant. Magic!

Create a playlist of your favorite feel-good songs - the ones that make you want to sing along, dance around your room, or sing at the top of your lungs. Allow yourself to get lost in the music and let it wash over you.

Music has a unique ability to connect us to our emotions and uplift our spirits, so let it be your soundtrack to feeling better.

08. Practice Mindfulness 

When your mind is consumed with negative thoughts and worries, practicing mindfulness can help bring you back to the present moment and give you a sense of peace and calm.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment, and can be practiced through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply by bringing awareness to your everyday activities.

By focusing on the here and now, you can quiet your mind, reduce stress, and gain a greater sense of clarity and perspective to what you are feeling, and make you feel better overall.

09. Practice Acts of Kindness

When you're feeling down, one of the most powerful ways to lift your spirits and make you feel better is by extending kindness to others.

Whether it's a small gesture like holding the door open for someone or a more significant act like volunteering your time to help those in need, acts of kindness not only benefit others but also bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose to your own life.

When you focus on making a positive impact on another person no matter how big or small, you shift your perspective away from your own troubles and towards the greater good, leaving you feeling uplifted and inspired.

10. Spend Time in Nature

There's something so soothing about spending time in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Whether it's a hike through the woods, a stroll along the beach, or simply sitting under a tree in your local park, immersing yourself in nature can have a profound effect on your mood and well-being. Nature has a way of grounding us, reminding us of the beauty and wonder that exists beyond our own worries and concerns. It'll give you a sense of calm.

So, whenever you want to feel better and get out of feeling down, make it a point to get outside and reconnect with the earth. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel after spending time in nature.

11. Nourish Your Body

When you're feeling down, you're naturally attracted to reach for comfort foods like sugary snacks or greasy takeout.

However, these foods often leave you feeling sluggish and even more depleted than before. Instead, focus on nourishing your body with foods that fuel your physical and emotional well-being. Choose nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, which provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to function at its best.

You don't have to count calories but choose what you eat wisely

Eating a balanced diet not only boosts your energy levels but also supports your mood and mental clarity, helping you feel better from the inside out.

12. Meditate

It's like a little vacation for your mind, perfect for those moments when you're feeling a bit down. Find yourself a cozy spot, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.

You don't have to silence your thoughts - just let them drift by like clouds in the sky. You don't have to sit there for hours either, sometimes 10 minutes is all you need. And if you need some guidance, there are plenty of apps and recordings out there to help you out.

With regular meditation, you'll feel more centered, calm, and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way.

13. Talk to a Child

If I'm feeling down and I talk to my 4-year-old niece, I, without fail come out of the conversation feeling a million times better. So much so that nowadays, if I was one of 'those' days, I just call my sister to speak to my niece.

Kids have this amazing ability to see the world through fresh eyes, and spending time with them can be seriously uplifting. Whether it's playing a game, reading a story, or just talking about their day, you'll be amazed at how their energy and enthusiasm can rub off on you. Plus, it's a great reminder to let go of our grown-up worries and embrace the joy and wonder of the present moment.

So, next time you're feeling a bit blue, why not give it a try? Who knows, you might just rediscover your inner child and find a whole new perspective on life.

Remember, it's okay to not be okay sometimes, but it's also important to take proactive steps to lift yourself up when you're ready.

Whether it's moving your body, reaching out to a friend, or practicing gratitude, find what works for you and prioritize your mental and emotional well-being.

You deserve to feel good, inside and out.

Take care and be kind to yourselves.


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